Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday questioned if a minor girl who died after allegedly being raped in West Bengal’s Nadia district earlier this month had a love affair with the accused person, ANI reported.
“How do you know if she was raped?” Banerjee asked at an event in Kolkata. “The police are yet to ascertain the cause of the death. I had asked them [the police]. Was she pregnant or had a love affair or was sick?”
The chief minister said that the state’s child commission will look into the incident.
On April 4, a 14-year-old girl was allegedly gangraped at a birthday party at the house of the main accused person, PTI reported. In a police complaint lodged on April 10, the family said that the girl started to bleed profusely after the party and died a day later on April 5.
Local Trinamool Congress leader Samar Goala’s son Braja Gopal Goala was arrested after the complaint was registered, according to India Today. Another accused, Prabhakar Poddar, was arrested on Tuesday, based on Braja Gopal Goala’s statement.
On Monday, Banerjee asked why the girl’s family had lodged the complaint five days after her death and cremation, PTI reported. Meanwhile, the family alleged that after facing pressure from Samar Goala, they had to cremate the body before an autopsy could be conducted.
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Monday questioned why Banerjee was defending the accused, The Indian Express reported.
“Does this victim not fall under TMC’s Maa, Mati, Manush [mother, land, people] governance?” Chowdhury asked. “Why is the chief minister playing the role of devil’s advocate? Why is she defending those who committed the crime?”
Senior leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Sujan Chakraborty questioned if the chief minister was trying to shield the culprits, The Indian Express reported. Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly and Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Suvendu Adhikari said “people should rethink whom they have voted to power”.
However, Banerjee refuted the allegations.
“Here [in West Bengal], police act according to the law,” she said, The Indian Express reported. “This is not Madhya Pradesh or Uttar Pradesh.”
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar has also sought a response on the case from the state government.